News / Europe

Estonia PM Calls for Permanent NATO Presence as Bulwark to Russia

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas attend a news conference after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 20, 2014.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and Estonia's Prime Minister Taavi Roivas attend a news conference after talks at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 20, 2014.
Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas urged NATO on Friday to establish a permanent presence in the Baltic state in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine, telling his allies to “open your eyes and stay awake”.
The Western alliance has tripled the number of fighter jets based in the Baltics as part of measures to beef up its defenses in eastern Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The events in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-speaking insurgents using sophisticated weapons threaten to split the country, have put the whole former Soviet bloc region on alert and eager for NATO reassurance.
Asked if he would like to see a permanent mission in Estonia, Roivas told Reuters in an interview: “Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania are the border states, and it is only logical that air policing and air defense for example are present on the borders.”
NATO's top military commander, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, said last month that NATO would have to consider permanently stationing troops in eastern Europe.
But some NATO allies argue that permanent basing of large numbers of troops in the east is too expensive, not a military necessity and needlessly provocative to Moscow.
Asked about the risk of antagonizing Moscow further, Riovas said: “Russia has done everything to break all agreements and has been very aggressive... we have the alarm bell ringing in Ukraine and I really believe that now is the time to open your eyes and stay awake.”
NATO has arranged a number of short-term army, air force and naval rotations in Eastern Europe, but these are due to finish at the end of this year.
Long-term plans include training drills that will consistently keep about 100 U.S. elite troops on the ground at any one time in NATO states close to Russia, with teams working in several countries, a U.S. official said.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
June 21, 2014 7:53 AM
A MESSAGE for Estonia? -- The US, EU, and NAO military forces, (are the most powerful military forces in the history of the world), but they haven't won a single conflict or war that they started, or participated in, have they? --- Stay neutral like Switzerland?

by: Thomas Borgsmidt from: Denmark
June 20, 2014 11:46 PM
I really don't think Russia and Putin saw that one coming.

Russia has been proceeding the same path as Hitler and Stalin did - using the same old ploys. We have seen their agression in Chechetnia, in Georgia and now in the Ukraine - what strikes me most is that Putin really did not think that Nato (and the EU) were pondering their options and making plans.

Today there is not THE WARPLAN - but a set of plans to cover different contingencies. The provocations of Russia - flying strategic bombers against Sweden and trying to put up Iskander missiles in Königsberg - have not gone by unoticed.

I doesn't seem like Russia understands that plans are under continual revision. Of course the provocations have been taken into consideration when the annual exercise Saber Strike was planned - it would have been stupid not to do that. Ukrainia has entered into that as well. Exercise planning is very flexible, where some participants are simulated or just on paper - but can be put in flesh at the appropriate notice.

The danger in the situation is that Russia is coming apart financially and in those circumstances a primitive despot like Putin is liable to strike out. So better take that eventuality into consideration.

Of course we never trusted a known criminal like Putin!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs